In the Miami Heat’s Dec. 26 game against the Orlando Magic, Miami continued to be depleted. Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin returned, but Kyle Lowry entered health-and-safety protocols. P.J. Tucker and Dewayne Dedmon remained out. (Orlando’s roster also was depleted.)
Magic injury report for today 3:30 p.m. at Miami: pic.twitter.com/MaEPHmYK0A— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) December 26, 2021
The Heat made just two 3-pointers in the first half against the Orlando Magic, going into intermission up just three points. But in the third quarter, the long balls started to fall. Three consecutive 3s midway through the period — two from Gabe Vincent, and one from Max Strus — gave Miami a 15-point lead.
Gabe starting the 3rd HOT— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 26, 2021
8 points and counting in the quarter for No. 2 pic.twitter.com/YUQPcgEzXV
But late in the third, Tyler Herro got called for a moving screen. He was upset, and referee Ben Taylor quickly assessed him a technical foul. Herro already had a tech, so he was ejected. (The bar for an ejection should always be high, and Herro didn’t meet it.) The Heat would have to play the entire fourth quarter without Herro and Kyle Lowry.
Make it make sense.— Bally Sports Sun: HEAT (@BallyHEAT) December 26, 2021
Tyler Herro gets his second technical of the game and has been ejected from the game. pic.twitter.com/mHkAx9l94X
With 4:22 left in the game, Omer Yurtseven — who made his first NBA start with Bam Adebayo and Dedmon injured — tipped in a Gabe Vincent miss to put the Heat up 85-72. And a little more than a minute later, Strus knocked down a 3 to make it 88-72.
we needed a big shot and Max delivered pic.twitter.com/fovMCcZY4q— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 26, 2021
The Heat held on to win 93-83 and improve to 21-13 on the season.
Butler didn’t shoot the ball well — he went 5-of-14 from the field — but made nine trips to the foul line and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals. During one stretch of the fourth quarter, Butler even played center. We’ll see if there’s more of that to come while Adebayo and Dedmon sit out.
More than anything, it felt good seeing Butler out there after missing 12 of Miami’s last 13 games. During this stretch against bad teams, the Heat need to do enough to win games. Butler did that Sunday afternoon.
Like Butler, Yurtseven also finished with a double-double. The rookie from Georgetown had 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 15 rebounds. His offensive rebounds and put-backs were huge. Interior scoring from Yurtseven and Udonis Haslem -- who finished with eight points in 11 minutes off the bench — helped Miami overcome 10-of-34 shooting from 3.
Tyler still in the giving mood with the dish to Ömer pic.twitter.com/VKba8nLzcv— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 26, 2021
In his first game back since exiting health-and-safety protocols, Caleb Martin didn’t miss a beat. Martin made two 3-pointers, but also drove to the rim for several baskets — including two put-back layups in the fourth quarter. He finished with 17 points and five rebounds. It’s great to have him back to fortify the Heat bench.
Herro shot just 1-for-5 before his ejection, but he dished out eight assists and did a good job replicating some of Lowry’s duties. Strus and Vincent each scored 13 points for Miami.
The Heat will host the Washington Wizards Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.